'Berg targets teacher shortage, racial disparity with new grant

Northwest Ohio K-12 schools are far from alone in facing the dual problem of teacher shortages and disparate ethnic and racial representation in schools. Today, more and more students are challenged to find role models who look like them and understand their stories.
 
But a new scholarship program at Heidelberg University aims to address those issues locally. Heidelberg’s School of Education recently received a $160,000 state Diversifying Educator Pipeline grant that will set up future educators on the path to becoming teachers. Together with financial aid, the program will provide a scholarship for 10 area students who will be high school seniors this fall to cover the remaining cost of attending Heidelberg.
 
“Even one teacher can change a life,” said Dr. Lindsey Haubert, an education instructor at Heidelberg University and the coordinator of the grant that aims to address not only the teacher shortage but the lack of diversity in the teaching field.
 
The grant is being made available to students in Crawford, Hancock, Lucas, Seneca, Sandusky, Wood and Wyandot counties.
 
Ultimately, the program will help increase the number of educators from diverse backgrounds as well as highly skilled workers in these counties.
 
The scholarship students will get a great jump on their college education by participating in two-week intensive summer sessions on Heidelberg’s campus over the next two summers. Each summer, they’ll also complete one College Credit Plus course at Heidelberg and two more CCP education courses during the upcoming academic year.
 
By the time they enroll at Heidelberg, they will have completed one full semester of their education coursework – all at no cost to them.
 
In exchange for the scholarship, the students will commit to teaching in Ohio for at least three years. The scholarship recipients will graduate from Heidelberg as licensed teachers with no student debt.
 
Heidelberg faculty and staff who are overseeing the program believe it has the potential to change lives. Many of the eligible students “maybe wouldn’t go to college otherwise and don’t even know that teaching could be an option for them,” Lindsey said.
 
All that is about to change for the students who receive the scholarships.
 
“We need to create the space and opportunity for more students who have experienced adversity to see that entering the education profession is not only an option but a desirable one that will allow them to return to their communities in the future,” Lindsey said.
 
In addition to college courses, the scholarship program provides the necessary support to set the students up to get their teaching licenses in any field they choose, Lindsey said.
 
“The idea behind the summer experience is to solidify this group of students as a cohort and develop a sense of community for them,” said Dr. Dawn Henry, director of the School of Education and assistant professor of special education. “It really makes a big difference to make those connections early on.
 
Heidelberg faculty will continue to mentor the students throughout the duration of the program. “The community piece will be there throughout,” Lindsey said. “And that’s so important because many of the students don’t have a sense of what it’s like to be a college student and have never even been on a college campus before.”
 
Students interested in applying for the grant can complete the application. If you have questions, reach out to Lindsey at lhaubert@heidelberg.edu.

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